There was a country music hit several years ago entitled “One More Day.” It reverberated with a lot of people following the 9-11 attack.

The song should also resonate with everyone who ever wanted to stop smoking, but couldn't quite do it.

This Thursday, Nov. 18, if you smoke, we hope you perform a death-defying act. We hope you give yourself One More Day -- maybe years more -- to be with your loved ones.

Starting Thursday – or today, for that matter -- smokers, dippers and chewers can give themselves a pay raise, add years to their lives, spend more time with their loved ones, and then talk about having pulled the whole thing off.

Remember, it ain't bragging if you can do it.

How?

Easy.

Quit smoking, dipping or chewing.

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Those seeking more information should contact the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition or the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-227-2345 to receive free counseling and medications, such as nicotine patches or gum.

For more information, visit www.quitlinems.com or https://smokefree.gov

On Smokeout Day, smokers and users of smokeless tobacco are encouraged to quit for 24 hours. The hope is that some of them will springboard from that to quit for life.

The American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute on Drug Abuse classify smoking as addictive. To anyone who smokes, that's displaying a firm command of the obvious.

Many people seeking treatment for drug and alcohol dependency say quitting their problem substance is easier than giving up cigarettes.

Moral support and expert help can make the difference between success and failure, according to the experts.

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Smoking-related deaths kill over 480,000 Americans annually. That's far more than the number of people killed during the whole Vietnam War. It's equal to the deaths of every man, woman and child in more than 20 towns the size of Houston.

Each year.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Thousands of Mississippi children now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Youngsters say smoking makes them look older. They're right. Smoking causes premature wrinkling of the skin, and yellowed fingertips.

It's cool to lose a breast or a lung or a jawbone to cancer while you're still young, isn't it? Just ask anyone who ever has.

By the way, smoking turns your cash to ash. If you smoke, dip or chew, figure out how much you spend each day on your habit, and multiply that figure by 365. Quit next Thursday, stay quit, and begin enjoying that extra cash.

Let's see now, smokes average about $6.96 per pack -- or about 35 cents per cigarette -- nationwide. A pack-a-day guy or gal who quits cold and stays quit would save about $49 weekly, or $2,600 annually. Think that wouldn't buy some food or clothes for the kids, or start a slush fund toward a new car or truck or the kids' college education, or make you a good little IRA?

And the previous paragraph about costs doesn’t include some really major money you could save. Quit smoking, and think of the years of insurance deductibles and co-pays you won’t have to pay to deal with smoking related illnesses such as cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, to name a few. Think of the insurance co-pays you won’t have to pay for medication for those illnesses. If you can prove you’re a non-smoker, your insurance premiums will likely decline.

This Thursday – or today, for that matter -- perform a death-defying act. Quit.

The life or lung or breast you save may be your own.

If you don't have enough pride in yourself, or enough backbone, to quit committing suicide on the installment plan, do it for your family and friends. Why put them through the possible misery of your cancer, your heart attack, or your funeral?

And when you say "that will never happen to me," remember the graveyards are full of people who once said the same thing.

On Thursday, see the light, and we’re not talking about the glow from the end of a cigarette.

Just quit.

And give yourself One More Day...

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